Liberia’s agriculture sector is faced with numerous challenges, keeping the production of local commodities on a low scale. One of the constraints in the sector is the issue of marketing opportunities for many subsistence farmers across the country.
For example, most rice farmers have continued to complain of the lack of markets for their produce. The farmers produce, but there are no buyers.
Many thanks, however, to the initiative of Fabrar-Liberia, a local rice processing company, which has begun buying paddy rice from farmers. The rice they buy are to be processed for the Liberian market.
Fabrar-Liberia aims to buy 40,000 bags of seed rice annually from local farmers across the country.
Recently, this local rice processing company procured about 1,200 bags from over 100 farmers producing rice in Lofa County.
For many farmers in the country, rice is mainly produced and consumed at the household level and the surplus sold at the market.
That is exactly the case with farmers in Lofa, who believed that the local market was as far as their rice would go. For others, their rice may go the extra mile and make it across the border into Guinea.
A lead farmer of the Bagagizia Farmers Association in Voinjama, James Dorbor, said Liberian farmers could produce enough rice to supply the local market. Bagagizia is one of several rice farming cooperatives benefiting from the USAID Food and Enterprise Development (FED) Program.
These farmers have been supported in lowland rice cultivation through the provision of modern equipment, irrigation structures and improved seed to increase rice production in Liberia.
“Lack of buyers of the rice [that] farmers in Lofa County produce is a major challenge for many farmers in our county. If only we can get buyers, we will continue to make farms every year,” Dorbor said.